Words: Hannah Bond
With summer fast approaching and lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, we will all be back in the shops before we know it, picking out the latest designs we have missed wearing while being stuck at home.
If I have learnt anything from this lockdown, especially working in the fashion industry myself, it’s that we need to support the small fashion businesses that are trying to make a change in sustainable clothing. It is easy to think that if you are buying less from retail giants, then you’re doing your part to lower your carbon footprint. However, it’s clear from the millions of clothing hauls which appear on our social media everyday, that not enough people are understanding the message about what sustainable fashion actually means.
In order to produce regular new collections inspired by catwalk looks and celebrity styles, fast fashion focuses on speed and low costs. These low costs are only obtainable because of the way that these brands cut corners to get clothes quickly into stores and into your basket.
Although buying less can make a change, it is where we buy from that will really make a difference. Buying from companies that provide a clear production cycle and traceability for each garment, can benefit those who actually make our clothes, as well as the planet.
To help cut through the confusion, I have listed some of my favourite small sustainable brands trying to make a difference. Some are a little pricey, but that its only because we have become accustomed to low-cost clothes from fast fashion retailers. As many of you will know, it is the irresistible cheap prices of these clothes that have a greater cost on the planet. With this in mind, take a look at these sustainable brands that will make you look stylish and chic, as well as make a difference in the fight against fast fashion.
E.L.V denim is a London based, zero-waste brand. They create unique, up-cycled garments from old unwanted jeans and transform them into stylish designs that will brighten your wardrobe year-round. They have a variety of products in menswear, womenswear and accessories.
E.L.V denim ensures that every part of their product cycle is aiming to help the planet, from sourcing the jeans to even labelling them. The discarded jeans are hand-picked and cleaned. Many people do not realise that to make a single pair of jeans from scratch requires around 7000 litres of water, whereas this process only requires 7!
Each item is made at a local east London atelier. They work side by side with the atelier to ensure fair working conditions and lifestyles for its workers. Nothing goes to waste here and any scraps are given to local artists and schools to be used creatively.
Each stage of their production process is written about in detail on their website.
When planning what bikini you want purchase this summer, Hunza G should definitely be on your list of brands to consider.
This British swimwear brand creates a one-size-fits-all approach to swimwear and clothing, thanks to their unique knit fabric, woven in the East Midlands. Every piece is then dyed locally in London and handmade to order, ensuring no stock is ever held and only what is needed is made. Any excess fabric is then created into accessories such as scrunchies.
As an extra added bonus, every item comes with a six-month warranty, meaning that if your new beloved purchase gets damaged, they will repair it for you, prolonging the life of your garment and stopping you buying more! Hunza G also describe themselves as carbon neutral and use environmentally friendly shipping methods. So don’t be drawn to those £1 bikinis, and instead, invest in a beautiful piece of swimwear that supports local businesses and the environment.
Fullalove is a pretty and affordable sustainable brand offering loungewear, everyday basics and lingerie. Everything made here is created using sustainable fabrics such as bamboo, hemp and organic cotton, all of which are biodegradable and are not forcefully grown. As well as the fabrics being a key feature in their design, dyes are also considered. In Fullalove’s ‘non-toxic’ collection, they use natural dyes such as spinach, cabbage, raspberries and even nettles. Strange as these ingredients may sound, these dyes are all key solutions to make our clothing purer and more sustainable.
With the combination of natural fabrics and natural non-toxic dyes, you are left with beautiful clothing that is kind to your skin, and the planet too.